My sisters and I have been kicking around the idea of retiring in Panama. I was born there (as the child of a military family), and after recently reading that it's one of the top 10 places for Americans to retire, I am all about it! Hey, what's better than living in a place where the weather is always warm and there are no hurricanes? One sister (Pam) is worried I'll find a man and get married and not do it, because she is determined. I told her if that were to happen, he'd just have to move with us. But I'm not holding my breath that that will happen. Sherry wants to go, but her boyfriend is not thrilled with the idea.
Do you know how many perks they have for Americans to move down there? For one thing, you don't have to pay property taxes for 20 years if you buy a house there. So we figure Pam will buy a house first, and then I'll buy it from her later if we're both still alive by then. You can import a car tax-free every so many years, I think it was 4 or 5. You don't have to worry about the exchange rate because they use American currency. They say Panama City is more American than Miami. There are daily flights back to the States, the closest flight to home being Atlanta which works for me! As far as I can tell, our biggest worry would be if Pam tells me she's going to the beach, she'll have to specify whether it's the Atlantic or Pacific today. :) They even have groups of Americans down there who meet and do things together, including helping each other find homes, etc.
My only concern is that I need to check with the State Department to make sure there won't be any issues with my citizenship. Since I was born there, I don't know if I would be subject to the same rules as my sister. I sure don't want to go there and not be able to come home.
Anyway, Sherry has been learning Spanish (or re-learning) to be able to communicate with her boyfriend so he can speak Spanish to more than just his family back home in California. I decided to sign up to the same website (livemocha.com) to learn it with her. I figure it can't hurt to be able to communicate in Spanish when I move to Panama, right? And then I'll know when the natives are bad-mouthing the crazy Americans. It's been so long since I had Spanish in high school that I am basically starting over with the basics. So you might see us commenting to each other on here in Spanish like I did to her on Facebook on her birthday. It's just us trying to practice and not us trying to hide anything.